About the Peace Pole & Pathway to Peace
As members of a church which considers “peace with justice” one of its core values, we embrace the Peace Pole as a living symbol of our ongoing quest for peace in our community and our world.
The idea to plant a Peace Pole grew out of our Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study class and a weekly curriculum called “Living the Questions.” A portion of each chapter is devoted to suggestions for “living out” your faith, and one such chapter included information on the World Peace Prayer Society and its international Peace Pole Project.
Members of the group began researching Peace Poles and found that the movement began in Japan at the close of World War II. Japanese citizen Masahisa Goi was so affected by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that he dedicated his life to spreading the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” That message took on a permanence when it became inscribed on Peace Poles. Today, there are more than 250,000 Peace Poles planted in 190 countries around the world.
We were intrigued by the idea that a Peace Pole could become an outward symbol of our commitment to peace and justice in our community and around the world. We contacted Peace Pole artist Joel Selmeier of Cincinnati, Ohio, who has dedicated his life to the cause of peace. He carved a seven-foot Peace Pole out of limestone and inscribed it with the “peace prayer” in seven languages.
When the Pulse tragedy occurred just blocks from our church in June of 2016, our resolve and sense of urgency grew.
Working with church member and landscape architect Harlan Hansen, we created a garden setting with lighting and a “pathway to peace.” The pathway is made up of 10 stepping stones, each engraved with the name of a historic peacemaker who has carried the torch forward to each generation. We hope that individuals will be inspired to find out more about these historic figures and that they will use our peace pole and peace garden as a place of prayer and meditation.
Our Peace Pole was dedicated on June 12, 2017, the first anniversary of the Pulse shooting. Since then, we have used it as a place of prayer and contemplation for our congregation and the community, particularly in response to incidents of violence.
We encourage everyone to pray and to work for world peace. The pathway to peace begins with a single step.